When I started my business, I feared being just another Las Vegas wedding planner. I wanted people to know exactly who and what I was, quickly and without question. But how? What could I say that would attract people who would like to work with me, and that I would like to work with? I decided to present myself as a Luxury Las Vegas Wedding Planner, with the tag line:
Celebrating Life, Luxury, and above all else...Love
Years later, "luxury" seems to be the big buzz word. Many a wedding planner are sticking it in front of their titles, in blogs, and on business cards. But what does this mean? What make a wedding a luxury wedding? What is a Luxury Wedding Planner?
Luxury - A Definition
Luxury is not about money. Luxury is about experience.
I'll say that again. Luxury is not...about...money. Luxury is all about experience. And, exclusivity.
But let’s get the money part out of the way. The average wedding costs between $25,000 - $35,000, with a guest count of roughly 100 or so people. They include a ceremony and a reception, along with some sort of flowers and decor. The day is set to music and captured, one would hope, with photos and video. There is some form of invitation, and a few printed items. There also tends to be some level of D.I.Y. work.
A Luxury Wedding typically runs in the 6 figure range, with 10% of all luxury weddings costing upwards of $1 Million. Luxury Weddings will include all of the things that are associated with a traditional wedding, plus a series of additional elements which could include lighting, live music, draping, or a dress change.
But simply spending money doesn’t guarantee luxury. You have to look at the experience.
Planning a high end wedding can take between 600 and 1,000 hours. Your experience begins with that first phone call or email to your planner, and continues with every interaction you have. The process should be exciting, and helmed by a wedding planner who listens and cares for you as if you are the only couple in the world. You should be made to feel safe enough to explore all of your ideas, excited about seeing what is proposed to you, and reassured in the knowledge that your planner has assembled the best team available to execute your vision. When times of stress arise - and they will arise - you should know that your wedding planner is there for you. Not because you have paid them to be, but because they want to be. A luxury wedding planner is responsive to you, returning phone calls and emails quickly. A friend and a guide, you can expect your wedding planner to manage your budget and expectations, your appointments and your timeline.
On the day of the wedding, you will be coddled and allowed to revel in the joy of the day. The atmosphere is one of comfort and security, with the knowledge that everything is happening as it needs to. Issues are handled behind the scenes by your planner, without ever impacting you or your family. The day unfolds in front of you effortlessly, and you take comfort in knowing that your wedding planner has everything under control.
Guests will find that they are impressed with the attention to detail and personal touches found throughout. They enjoy a feeling of anticipation, a "what's next?" excitement that naturally progresses from the ceremony to the cocktail hour, dinner, dancing, and beyond.
As you head off to your honeymoon, you should do so knowing that all of the final details are being handled. You can relax and enjoy your time away without concerning yourself with the outstanding loose ends, such as when your photos and video will be completed.
More than that, luxury weddings allow you to experience the traditional in a new, exciting, and very abundant, level. They take the "expected" and turn them on their heads. A luxury wedding embraces detail and personal touches, entices all five senses while showcasing the best in food, wine, decor, lighting, and entertainment. The menu is well planned and inspired, paired properly with appropriate drinks. Centerpieces may be varied table by table, lighting would accent the florals. A dress change, a tuxedo change, and possibly a "set" change could occur. There will a team of attendants taking care of the couple and their guests, along with multiple professional photographers, videographers, sound and lighting technicians, etc.
Most importantly, guests leave with the feeling that they will never again have an experience quite like this. Luxury weddings are aspirational.
More on The Luxury Wedding Planner
A wedding planner is only as good as three things:
The people they work for...
The people they work with...
And the ability to read between the lines…
Luxury Wedding Planners are experienced and educated. We have an in depth knowledge about food and wine, fashion, lighting, and florals. A Luxury Wedding Planner is highly organized, yet artistic. In the hands of an accomplished planner, your thoughts and words will be drawn out and transformed into a day layered with various sights, sounds, and textures.
Luxury Wedding Planners are exclusive, and ensure that you feel as if you are the most important couple in the world. We give you ample time to explain your vision, provide you with unlimited phone calls, emails, and meetings. You get to know each other, become friends, build trust, and are confident in their choices and suggestions.
A luxury wedding planner will handle the budget like an accountant. Once budget is set, be it $100,000 or $1 Million, it becomes a part of the background. You should feel free to focus on the style and the feeling, knowing that you have entrusted your investment to someone who respects your money. Money isn’t spent just to be spent. Each purchase is well thought out and aligned for maximum impact.
A luxury wedding planner will handle your vision like an artist, bringing together the venue, taking your inspiration and bringing it to life with by enticing all five senses, and creating an environment through your choice of venue, flowers, menu, and music.
A luxury wedding planner will be the epicenter of the planning process, with all information flowing to and from them.
A luxury wedding planner handles your nerves like a friend, becoming a part of your life, keeping you sane with the occasional coffee date or cocktail.
Luxury Wedding Planners have a support team of accomplished, passionate, visionary people. We partner with the best venues, florists, photographers, and musicians. We know how to build and lead a team so that each element moves and flows around the other seamlessly. It’s a performance, with each creative partner playing their role to the best of their ability, for the most beautiful outcome. Yet a wedding should never feel forced or contrived. The day should move along with ease, and no one should notice the wizard pulling strings behind the curtain.
In order to plan and execute an upscale, high end wedding, a wedding planner needs to have a certain demeanor, allowing them to function under the demands and pressures which come along with handling high profile couples and large budgets. There must be an inherent understanding and appreciate for quality. A Luxury Wedding Planner knows luxury, understands how to shop it, how to compare it, and how to interpret its value.
A Luxury Wedding Planner is asking questions of you constantly, pulling out information you didn’t know you had, and using it to add detail and soul to your wedding day.
This is the difference between a regular wedding planner and a luxury wedding planner. A regular wedding planner checks off boxes and makes sure you have everything. A luxury wedding planner ignores the boxes, making sure you have the best of the right things.
Luxury Brides and Grooms - What do they want?
Luxury couples want to make a statement, looking for wedding planners, photographers, and venues that have some sort of acclaim - be it that they are the choice of celebrities or athletes, that they are often published on blogs, or that they appear on TV. They want an expert with a tried and true reputation for knocking it out of the park. They like notoriety, but aren't as concerned with degrees or awards.
Wedding planners today are becoming personalities and brands in a way that we never have been before. Couples are looking for people that they feel share their style and values. They want to know that their lifestyle matches that of their planner, and that their personal choices and style are not only understood, but shared.
Today, couples looking to host luxurious, high end weddings are ranking food as among the most important element in the planning process. Food is the new fashion, and for a generation that spends as much time planning and photographing their next meal, and stalking both their local farmer’s market and favorite chef, the standard three courses just don’t apply. Weddings are menu masterpieces, taking guests on a culinary journey, paired with wine, and finished with more than just a sheet cake cut up in the back.
These couples see their weddings as a moment of self expression, and extension of their personalities, and they want to make a statement. Some of those statements mean that the wedding is small and intimate, but with an insane amount of personal detail. Other's are larger, with hundreds of guests and, by extension, many more moving parts and pieces. In all times, the most important thing is that the wedding is about them.
On a Personal Note
These days, I’m less interested in stressing the luxury angle than I am in working with couples that I adore. When I do, the luxury aspect comes naturally.
In my personal life, my style is classic and timeless, with a glamorous edge. I am drawn to quality over quantity. I love food and am fascinated with the way flavors and textures come together to create an experience. I love to travel. I am deliberate, precise, and I have a somewhat wicked and naughty streak that stops me from taking it all too seriously. I will invest in the things that I want, and believe that life is here for us to live largely. I am sentimental, but not in a sugary sweet way. I appreciate tradition and recognize the importance of an anchor, but know that sometimes you have to break the rules. I am never be outworked, and believe that it's more important to do something right than to just get it done. Above all things I am committed to family - those we are born into, and those we assemble for ourselves.
As a wedding planner, I make certain that I am only working with people who share those passions and personality traits. My couples have a discerning eye and appreciate the subtle differences between one level of work and another. My brides have strong personalities and personal style. My grooms appreciate the opportunity to make a statement.
Things that I am not: Shabby Chic. Rustic. And certainly not a Do-It-Yourself-er. I do not own a glue gun, I do not I macrame anything. During my first conversation with a couple, I am always up front about that, because I am doing us all a disservice if I pretend to be something I am not. In times like these, I always refer couples another planner I know they can trust, and that I believe will be a much better fit for them. Often times I'll later see the couple's wedding on another blog, and I appreciate the beautiful day they had, knowing that they had the right experience with the right planner.
When I plan with my couples, I do my best to get to know as much about them as possible, so that I can design a day which will allow their guests to see, taste, or experience something that they have never seen, eaten, or experienced before. I don’t “copy” anything else, and I don’t allow my clients to, either. We are inspired by what we have seen, and we incorporate those inspirations in new ways. At times, that has meant a hanging cake, a Bubbles and Bourbon bar, and a fully constructed boardwalk - complete with arcade. At other times, we have embraced a unique sign in item, a special venue, or brought in a celebrity chef. Each time, the detail was different, and most importantly, it was personal.
After all, every day and in every way, I am living my dream, helping couples achieve theirs.
Celebrating life, luxury, and above all else…Love.
Las Vegas Wedding Planner Andrea Eppolito is often published, with works featured by the likes of BRIDES, Style Me Pretty, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, The NY Times, LA Times, Junebug Weddings, and more. With an eye catching style that shares not only the story, but the soul, of a wedding, Andrea's clients praise her for being their wedding planner, event designer, advocate, and friend.
An internationally acclaimed speaker, Andrea appears and speaks at events for The Engage Luxury Wedding Summit, NACE, The Knot, the Wedding MBA, and more. Named the Best Wedding Planner in Las Vegas (2013, 2015, 2016), Wedding Professional of the Year (2011) and ranked as one of the top 50 wedding planners world-wide, Andrea works with celebrities, athletes, executives, and all people in love!
Based in Las Vegas, and working as a destination wedding planner world wide, you can learn more at www.AndreaEppolitoEvents.com.